BSc (Hons) Biology

If you are fascinated by the world around you and want to understand how life on earth evolves, adapts and interacts, then this Biology degree is for you. Biology is the science of life. It is the scientific study of living organisms and the environment, and investigates levels of biological organisation from molecules up to ecosystems.

This well-established Biology degree is ideal if you want an all-round knowledge of biology. Subjects range from medical microbiology to primatology, from genetics to tropical field ecology. In the second year Frontiers in Biology module, students work in teams to develop project ideas and explore current research in depth.

As well as studying the varied habitats accessible in south Wales, our students have the opportunity to learn scientific diving techniques and develop field research skills in the tropical forests and coral reefs of either Asia, Central or South America

Our Biology degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, the professional body for biologists, so you can rest assured that this course provides the ideal preparation for a career in the field of biology.

UCAS Code Study Mode
2019
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C100 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
2020
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C100 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

In the first year of your Biology degree you will gain a thorough grounding in key areas in biology, including microbiology, genetics, and ecology. You will also develop the techniques and skills to conduct work in the laboratory and in the field. You will begin to develop your transferable skills such as the ability to communicate effectively too.

The second year will expand your knowledge in core subject areas such as zoology, medical microbiology, GIS and human genetics. You will have the opportunity to study the latest research in a topic which interests you, and further develop your communication, problem solving, and teamwork skills. You are also able to choose from some optional modules, enabling you to tailor your biology degree to suit your own interests. There is the option for an overseas residential field trip.

During the third year of your Biology degree, you can specialise even further by choosing subject areas that best fit your career plans and passions. You will conduct an in-depth research project on a specific topic under the supervision of a member of staff, and you will have the opportunity to present the results of your research at an undergraduate internal conference.

Year One: Biology Degree

  • Microorganisms and the Dynamic Cell - 20 credits
  • Genetics and Evolution - 20 credits
  • Biological Research Skills - 20 credits
  • Evolutionary Botany and Zoology - 20 credits
  • Principles of Ecology - 20 credits
  • Biological Chemistry - 20 credits

Year Two: Biology Degree

  • Human Molecular Genetics - 20 credits
  • Frontiers in Biology - 20 credits
  • GIS for the Biological Sciences - 20 credits
  • Vertebrate Zoology - 20 credits
  • Medical Microbiology - 20 credits

Plus one of:

Year Three: Biology Degree

  • Biology Research project - 40 credits
  • Humans and other primates - 20 credits
  • Agriculture, Evolution and Biotechnology - 20 credits

Then either two of:

  • Advanced Ecology - 20 credits
  • Marine and Freshwater Biology - 20 credits
  • Global Ecological Change - 20 credits

    Or:

  • Tropical Medicine - 20 credits
  • Clinical and Molecular Immunology - 20 credits

Teaching

We teach using a combination of group activities, lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, directed learning, online activities, UK and overseas field trips. The number of contact hours per week will vary depending on your module choice and year of study, but on average you can expect 10-12 contact hours over five days a week. You will also need to spend a significant amount of time each week on preparation for classes, background reading, revision, or working on assignments.

Our teaching is complemented by a range of subject experts who give guest lectures for various modules. There is also a Biology Speakers Series with a variety of external speakers which third year students have to attend, and other students are encouraged to.

Assessment

Our students are assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study which could include laboratory and field reports of your own work; essays; in-class tests; oral presentations; research proposals; field notebooks; and end of year examinations.

Accreditations

USW’s Biology degree has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

 

Field Trips

There are a number of one-day local field trips included as part of the biology degree. There is also an optional overseas field course, Tropical Ecology and Conservation, in which students in the second year will have the opportunity to learn to scuba dive and to develop their knowledge of tropical ecosystems, terrestrial and marine. 

Some fieldwork elements come with certain physical demands. If you have a disability that is likely to be affected by physical demands, please get in touch with the course leader Dr Darren Johnson as soon as possible. All applicants are encouraged to attend a University Applicant Day to discuss the field courses with our staff, including current additional costs and the nature of the activities that are undertaken.

There may be additional costs associated with this course

Facilities

Our George Knox laboratories are part of a £15m investment in science for the University, meaning you will be taught in new and well equipped spaces.These join the Grade II listed Alfred Russel Wallace building which is also used for teaching.

You will benefit from several well-equipped laboratories for practical and project work. Our facilities include:

  • Microbiology laboratory capable of handling pathogens (category 2)
  • Molecular biology laboratory for DNA isolation and analysis
  • Projection microscopes in the microbiology and microscopy laboratories for group teaching
  • General biology laboratories for teaching, including a range of skeletons for vertebrate zoology
  • Computer rooms with specialist GIS software to support your learning

Lecturers

Dr Darren Johnson, course leader

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include Biology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include Biology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Science Requirements

Applicants taking Science A levels in England will need to pass the practical element alongside achieving the requested grade(s)

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject which must include Biology modules (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points from Higher Levels to include grade 5 in Biology

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass an Access to HE Diploma in Maths/Science and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances. 

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees


  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £12600 

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit / Equipment *
Students undertaking courses that contain elements of outdoor fieldwork must wear appropriate outdoor clothing, which includes suitable wet weather gear, rugged boots/shoes and hat/gloves. The location and weather will determine the nature of clothing/footwear worn, and therefore the cost, and students will be informed of these requirements at the start of their studies. Please note that inappropriate clothing/footwear may prevent students from participating in an activity. The School of Applied Sciences subsidises the cost of compulsory fieldwork in the UK and overseas. Although kept to a minimum, some overseas compulsory fieldwork may have additional costs applied. Optional fieldwork modules are typically at the cost to the student. Generally, students will be expected to pay for their food unless specifically included within the field course. Students will need to supply suitable field notebooks in order to take observations/notes during field courses. Please note that some fieldwork may require visas and vaccinations, which are at the cost to the student and will vary depending on individual circumstances.
Field trip £2200 - £2500
Up to two and a half weeks in a tropical location including marine and terrestrial study sites. Recent study centres have included Mexico, Honduras and Borneo. £350 for scuba dive training as an additional option.
Placement *
Students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their major research project would be expected to pay their own travel costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

There is high demand for Biology graduates. Graduates of our biology degree have found employment in a range of fields, including environmental consultancy, hospital laboratories, the food and drink industry, and teaching. Many biology undergraduates progress to a postgraduate biology degree or science degree.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.